Hôtel des Grands Boulevards
17 Boulevard Poissonniere
The hotel is hidden down a passageway on Boulevard Poissonnière, a lively street in the central 2nd Arrondissement.
Flights from all over the world land at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, a major international hub. It takes 45 minutes to drive from there to the hotel.
International services arrive at Gare du Nord, the city’s largest station. From London, you can hop on a Eurostar service at St Pancras International, which will whisk you to the French capital in two-and-a-half hours. Once you’ve arrived, you can reach the hotel by taxi (a 12-minute journey) or the Metro. For the latter, take the M4 line from Gare du Nord to Strasbourg – St-Denis, then change to the M8 towards Balard, jumping off at Grands Boulevards. The hotel is a three-minute walk away.
Driving from the UK is fairly straightforward thanks to the Eurotunnel, but you won’t really need a car once you’re in the city centre, where you’re likely to encounter traffic and a lack of parking spaces. There’s also the Peripherique – the city’s oft-congested ring road – to contend with.
Worth getting out of bed for
The most famous of the city’s sites need no introduction, and are easily reached from the 2nd Arrondissement, whether you want to go goat-spotting in the Jardin des Tuileries or wander the bohemian-leaning Left Bank. In terms of the local area, a short walk westwards will bring you to the Place de l'Opéra, where you’ll find the sumptuous Opéra National de Paris, which puts on world-class performances within its cavernous auditorium. It’s well worth a look in even if you don’t plan to buy tickets, as this is Paris at its most splendid. For something a little less high-brow – and if your French is up to the task – you could try Le Comedy Club, just north of the hotel in the 10th Arrondissement. The venue attracts many of France’s most famous comics, and the drinks are fairly reasonable to boot. Also within walking distance is the Musée des Arts et Métiers, in which you can spend a few hours marvelling over some of the 2,400 inventions within its collection, among them Foucault's pendulum. The 2nd Arrondissement still has a fine collection of covered arcades, too, many of which have glass ceilings and charming period detailing. The Galerie Vivienne and the Passage du Panoramas are particularly noteworthy contenders.
Named after the Greek god of agriculture, stylish and modern Saturne has forged strong relationships with organic farmers and vineyards, prizing the best seasonal ingredients and natural wines. The interior is pared back and contemporary, with an open kitchen adding to the atmosphere. Frenchie is owned by Chef Gregory Marchand, who earned the nickname from Jamie Oliver while working in the kitchen at the latter's london-based restaurant, Fifteen. Clearly, the name stuck, with Marchand moving to Paris in 2009 to open the eponymous restaurant. Fittingly, the food is Gallic at heart, but shows all the best influences from his international training. The restaurant also doubles as a wine bar, so you can be sure that the drinking will be every bit as good as the dining. La Bourse et La Vie is owned by American-born chef Daniel Rose, who has taken all he loves about the French bistro scene and distilled it into a single venue. Dine on elevated pot-au-feu dishes, steak frites and crème caramel in a thoroughly Parisian setting.
For brunch, coffee or a pre-theatre cocktail, try Lockwood on Rue d’Aboukir. It might not be the most traditional Parisian café, but the food, friendly service and music have made it a firm local favourite. For something more grand and traditional, head to Café de la Paix, a lavish Parisian institution with gilded ceilings and Napoleon III-style furniture. Its prestige and historical importance puts it on the pricey side, but it's well worth a visit even if you’re just stopping in for a quick café creme.
Don’t miss the chance to visit the Experimental Cocktail Club on Rue Saint-Sauveur, whose team created the hotel’s own drinks list. Widely lauded, the bar is almost always busy, but the drinks more than make up for any jostling.